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Behind Friday's Roster Moves

There is much to cover as the Nationals begin an 11-game homestand during a 10-day span. Coming later will be a postmortem on Ryan Zimmerman's 30-game hitting streak, now that the third baseman, his manager and his teammates have had time to digest the significance of the streak.

More immediate, though, are today's roster moves ...

-- Jesus Flores has a deep bruise on his right shoulder. He suffered the injury against the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 9 and was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 10. Perhaps Flores could have return sooner - Manager Manny Acta said Flores would be ready once his stint on the DL is finished - but with a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, the Nationals needed a healthy catcher.

"There's no way I can throw the ball to the bases as hard as I can and I can't swing the bat yet," Flores said. "Altogether, it was a good decision to give me the time to come back."

Although Flores's health was the primary reason for the decision, the day-night doubleheader was of critical importance. The Nationals could have tried to get away with Wil Nieves every day until Flores returned, but not when there are two games in a day.

"That was a huge factor in it," Acta said. "Our last day off Thursday, and with these games on consecutive days, we just didn't want to go through that."

Flores had a difficult time changing out of his shirt. He struggled sleeping initially, and now it feels sore after awaking in the mornings.

Nieves is the top option at catcher, but expect to see Josh Bard during this homestand, too. Nieves batted 7 for 17 in four games replacing Flores on the West Coast while also playing impressive behind the plate. But Bard made the club out of spring training, so this likely will not be as clear a No. 1 and No. 2 as Flores and Nieves had been.

-- Acta said Jesus Colome was good enough to make the team out of spring training, but had a "contract issue". If you remember, the Nationals formed their bullpen with minor league options in mind. Colome was signed to a minor league contract and was not a member of the 40-man roster, which would have made his entry onto the team at the expense of someone else on the roster.

The Nationals' ensuing bullpen struggles means the team needs to exhaust as many options as possible, and Acta likes Colome's experience and track record.

"He's going to be pitching in the middle of games," Acta said. "We'll see if he can throw the ball the way he threw for us in spring training and the way he was throwing for Triple A. He was a guy who over the last two seasons here has done a good job for us, always reliable. ..He still has a good arm, and we like what we saw in spring training. He showed up with better command of his pitches and threw well for us."


-- The Nationals are not ready to give up on Logan Kensing, who they designation for assignment. The Nationals acquired Kensing from the Florida Marlins on April 29. He allowed 10 runs in five innings, but Acta still likes the arm of the 26-year-old right-handed reliever.

"He has the stuff and we like Logan, and hopefully if we can get him through waivers, he's going to stay in our system," Acta said. "Things just didn't work out. He was pitching behind in the count the whole time and he was working through some mechanical issues, and right now, with the state of our bullpen, he understands we just can't be hiding anybody right now."

Acta said Kensing took the news well and wants to stay in the Nationals' system.

-- A player who did not want to stay in the Nationals system was Mike Hinckley, who cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent. Hinckley was designated for assignment on May 7 after allowing five runs in 9.2 innings. He was a bright note for the Nationals last season when he did not allow an earned run in 13.2 innings, but the left-handed reliever struggled in the spring will try his luck elsewhere.

"I have no clue what he told those guys," Acta said when asked what Hinckley told the Nationals. "That's out of my department."

By Zach Berman  |  May 15, 2009; 8:05 PM ET
 
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Next: Let's Play Two...

Comments

With Flores moving to the DL, the Nationals had to bring a catcher back up - Welcome back to the Bard. Nieves got the snot beat out of him with foul tips on Wednesday - he'll need a blow at some point before Javier comes back.

The exchange of Kensing for "All-Day Colome" is all fine & good; At least Manny knows what he's getting into here. Let's just hope that Colome isn't called in in relief of Cabrera on Saturday - the field players will be asking for pillows & blankets so they can take naps between pitches.

Posted by: BinM | May 15, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

9:15 & the mlb.com feed finally kicked over to the WFED (Charlie/Dave) feed. Hurrah, mlb, Hurrah, Beer!

Posted by: BinM | May 15, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

another wreck of the ol' no. 97.

Posted by: surly_w | May 15, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I do not agree with the sentiment around here that Manny should be fired...but I am getting really tired of how he uses the bullpen. I really do not understand letting Mock and Villone face only one batter, and Colome only two.

And now Dukes is coming out of the game holding his hamstring....ugh. Tomorrow night might be a miserable game with Cabrera pitching and some regulars on the bench.

Posted by: NeedANatsFix | May 15, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Good to see Colome fitting seamlessly into the bullpen ...

Posted by: mjhoya12 | May 15, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Nats Bullpen -- All Blown Saves All the Time.

Posted by: mastroj | May 15, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

At some point how will our bullpen ever get any confidence if Manny is not allowing any of them to pitch out of their own jams. Beimel comes in with men on base and pitches behind in the count. Mock should have been able to pitch more than two pitches. Villone should have been able to keep pitching. I understand not wanting Colome to pitch to Howard, but at some point our bullpen needs to be given a little more leash to start working through some jams.

Posted by: NeedANatsFix | May 15, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Has there been a bullpen this bad anytime recently ? Throwing strikes is always a challenge and what can go wrong does. How many times will we see the same performance this year ?

Posted by: JT2009 | May 15, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Also, I watched Ibanez play in KC a number of years ago. He keeps his head down, works hard, and plays very solid baseball. I loved watching his approach and the way he plays. The Phillies made a great decision to sign him in the offseason.

Posted by: NeedANatsFix | May 15, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Well dangit, the calfpen does it again.
At least Tavarez got the K to end the damage for now, and it's only a 2 run deficit...
Just worried for the next 2 top innings, I keep playing Han Solo's line in my head: "It's worse"

Posted by: HotNats | May 15, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

natstown...where no home team lead is truly safe.

Posted by: surly_w | May 15, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Can I manage this team from my couch? Leave the damned starters in the game! Taking them out every night in the sixth inning is a death sentence. I don't care if they have thrown 250 pitches. The sooner Acta learns this we might win a couple of games.

Posted by: MKadyman | May 15, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

>Can I manage this team from my couch? Leave the damned starters in the game! Taking them out every night in the sixth inning is a death sentence. I don't care if they have thrown 250 pitches. The sooner Acta learns this we might win a couple of games.

The first thing out of his mouth will be to blame the bullpen. He's an idiot.

Posted by: Brue | May 15, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

the bullpen should be stoned on the mall, and no not the way biemel would want it

Posted by: bford1kb | May 15, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

beimel*

Posted by: bford1kb | May 15, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Nice post, Zach. Lotsa good info. Also, good to hear some details besides the standard lines on Jesus's arm. Gives us a clearer picture.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 15, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

wow... it's still only a 2-run deficit.
Allrighty boyz, (to quote Sgt. Yablonski) "Let's do it to 'em, before they do it to us!"

Posted by: HotNats | May 15, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

OK, from here on in, they're the Steerpen. Except for Villone--he's a centurion in the wrong milennium.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 15, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

and second the NICE POST ZACH.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 15, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

HOLEY SHAMOLEY!!!!!
ATTA BOY, WILLIE!!!!!!

Posted by: HotNats | May 15, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

C'mon Kearns, C'mon Kearns, C'mon Kearns!!!

Posted by: HotNats | May 15, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

we pray for Jesus's deep contusion, and his family. But mostly for his deep contusion.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 15, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

RIM RAM REE
HIT 'IM IN THE KNEE
RIM RAM RASS
HIT HIM IN THE OTHER KNEE

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 15, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

We should hit Utley in the earhole every single time we play them. Plate crowding piece of sh*t. Beat these punks

Posted by: Kev29 | May 15, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Excellent work, Hanrahan, most definitely.

Posted by: HotNats | May 15, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I was gonna say, I'm praying for a deep contusion to Utley

Posted by: HotNats | May 15, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

newposted several times over, but I'll try.
"Riders on the Storm" was a hit song by a late-60s, early-70s rock band from LA, The Doors. Notable for keyboardist Ray Manzarak's moody, vaguely jazzy electric piano, minor chords, and faux-intelligible lyrics, "Riders on the Storm" reached #14.
It remains influential (http://tinyurl.com/p2pc5b), and to this day, keeps Ray Manzarek employed, all by itself.


**************************
@Section506 or Sec3mysofa--could you please explain this to me?
-------
funniest thing I've read here in many weeks.
***********
I wish the Nats would play "Riders on the Storm" during the Seventh Inning on a Sunday sometime, just to confuse everyone.
Posted by: Section506 | May 14, 2009 5:47 PM |
Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 15, 2009 2:29 PM
Posted by: Section109 | May 15, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 15, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

see, that's why they're the STEERpen. they won't throw Kipping strikes.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 15, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Well...I've had it...BOOOOOOOOOO

Posted by: amorris525 | May 15, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Shocker....

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | May 15, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

you gotta give em credit. when the bullpen decides to give it up, they don't do it with half-axed onesies and twosies. They lose it good and hard.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 15, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Seven relief pitchers used tonight ... tomorrow ought to be interesting, indeed.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | May 15, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Manny is the worst; does he have any idea of how to do a double switch or use a bullpen? It isn't all his fault as the cheapo Lerners let crooked Bowden convince them they didn't need any ML Ps on the roster (again), but since we can't fire the Lerners, Manny has to go before Monday. Remember that this pathetic team made a profit last year, even under accounting rules that make it almost impossible to do so. So we DC taxpayers are paying the Lerners to take our money and put a Low A staff on the mound. Sign some beer league relief Ps -- they couldn't do any worse -- and cut Cabrera now.

A 5 year season ticket holder who won't be back for 6 unless Manny is gone soon

Posted by: grclarkdc1 | May 15, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Has anybody told Manny that 1st and 3d and man on first steals you don't have to throw through? This is about the 5th time this season that they've thrown through and the ball has hit the runner or been airmailed. Can somebody tell Manny what we all learned at age 8?

Posted by: grclarkdc1 | May 15, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Goodnight Gracie.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 15, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Just spent over 5 hours at Nats Park watching another Manny concocted disaster. Everyone in my section (104) couldn't believe the reliever merry-go-round and it was only the 6th inning. Bottom line folks you can't fire 25 players. With 6 weeks in and now 11 games under .500, with injuries begining to mount (Flores and now it looks like Dukes will be D2D until ya know DL+15 kicks in) and a fan base that is past the muteney stage they have to make a move and Manny has to be the sacrificial lamb!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | May 16, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Just another sleepless night. Oh well, at least the day wasn't wasted entirely as I did see a nice Blue Angels air show today.

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 16, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

another dismal night at Natstown - upper deck behind 309 the beer stand was closed BEFORE the game - other stations out of decent beers by the 3rd inning - no onions for a hot dog again in the 3rd inning - hard enough to deal with the losing but they should make the fan experience less of an ordeal - I guess if you want to drink Bud Lime or whatever other excuses they have in bottles its fine but I do like a decent beer and had to walk half-way around the upper deck to find Old Dominion which is about my 4th choice - starting to wonder about my season tickets after 5 years of support and its not just the players that have me bothered - about the only plus was it turned into a great evening and the walk to Union Station was terrific

Posted by: sjm3091 | May 16, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

That is one seriously craptastic bullpen. Wow, just wow. How the Phillies managed to leave 16 runners on base is beyond me. Tavares -- he may not have allowed any runs, but after two innings he still had more balls than strikes.

Willie Harris' hit in the bottom of the 9th caused me to literally fall over into the row below mine, I was jumping around so much. If only Kearns coulda gotten Harris home from third...

Posted by: Juan-John | May 16, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

Hanrahan did ok, though. Reminded me of the Cardiac Chief... :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | May 16, 2009 1:50 AM | Report abuse

More Strasburg coverage:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4168915

Posted by: Juan-John | May 16, 2009 3:04 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't the ERA of Colome in the six range before his callup? He was not even getting minor leaguers out. Meanwhile, Bergmann and others who have been effective this year are still not here.

The "Blame it on Bowden" era is over, folks. These fools in charge now are making their own evaluations and horribly failing. Bowden did not trade a warm body for Kensing, Bowden did not bring up Cintron, Bowden did not recall Colome.
Bowden is not the one making us endure the starts of Cabrera.

Posted by: driley | May 16, 2009 6:46 AM | Report abuse

good one, surely...

*********
another wreck of the ol' no. 97.
Posted by: surly_w | May 15, 2009 9:19 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 16, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

but I'm most disappointed in Dibble, not knowing who Moe Berg was.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 16, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

I never run out of onions or mustard, I always have my favorite beer, and at the park, you can't bring your dog, and they get really upset if you take your pants off. I did have to buy a 30-year plan, and I get very few foul balls, but overall, I like my section better.

**********************
another dismal night at Natstown - upper deck behind 309 the beer stand was closed BEFORE the game - other stations out of decent beers by the 3rd inning - no onions for a hot dog again in the 3rd inning - hard enough to deal with the losing but they should make the fan experience less of an ordeal - I guess if you want to drink Bud Lime or whatever other excuses they have in bottles its fine but I do like a decent beer and had to walk half-way around the upper deck to find Old Dominion which is about my 4th choice - starting to wonder about my season tickets after 5 years of support and its not just the players that have me bothered - about the only plus was it turned into a great evening and the walk to Union Station was terrific

Posted by: sjm3091 | May 16, 2009 12:21 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 16, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

The Blogfather said it years ago--the real test of this team will be how they draw in 2009. Looking like they'd better ace the midterm, if the early pop quizzes are any indication.

For all the complaints about the steerpen, the marketing of this business is actually worse, and that's no small trick.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 16, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the majority of the posters on here. I have two questions regarding the pen. Are they being used properly and do we have the best possible possible players in the pen?

Regarding the first question I see a group of guys who are all trying to be too fine. They are scared to pitch to contact until the count is 3-2 and then the batter knows what is coming. Our guys do not have the stuff to pitch on 3-2 counts. The only guys last night who did seem to have some confidence were Hanrahan and Vilone and their performances may have been a lucky, who knows. I do know that the bullpen for the most part has no confidence. The use of the pen rests with St. Claire and Manny.

Regarding the second question I have to question why Bergy and Clippard have not been given a chance. Based on performance alone, they deserve a shot. I would bring Bergy up immediately and DFA Colome. Also I am not convinced that Tavares is the guy. Regarding Beimel I would use him as he was used last year. He is not a closer and does not have the make-up or the stuff. The composition of the pen rests with Rizzo. He is not maximizing the assets he has at his disposal. He is not using the best relievers at his disposal.

I believe there are 29 other teams who would give Bergy a shot to pitch with the possible exception of the Red Sox.

Posted by: mjames0 | May 16, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Laughing here at the description of your section, sec. 3. I missed the Moe Berg part. Must have been one of the times when I clicked away briefly. Out of curiosity, what was the context?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 16, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

BTW, sec. 3, do you ever have any issues with "protecting the house" there? Those "few hundred" Phillies Phans last night must have been ventriloquists, because they were quite noisy.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 16, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm not on board with those who want to fire Acta. I think he's a pretty good leader. The players seem to respect him and they play hard. Results are a function of talent, or lack of it in the bullpen's case.

As a baseball tactician, he's no better or worse than any other manager. He coddles starters with a hard pitch count. He manages the bullpen with the situational toggle switch and probably likes to bunt too much. One could say the same things about all 29 other managers, its just the way the game is managed today.

I do like the recent moves. I do wish they would bring up Stammen and use him out of the pen. I wouldn't move him to the rotation yet, but because he is stating at AAA, he would be a good long man in the pen, limiting him to a "once through" the opposing lineup.

They should release Wells to make room for Stammen. I heard that Wells seemed to have his stuff in spring training but he seems to have lost his command, completely. I saw Wells underperform in Pittsburgh for years. I see no reason to believe he will be productive here.

Major League managers have overly complicated the game with hard pitch counts, calling pitches from the bench, double switches, situational lineups, and over use of situational relievers. Simplify the game, let the players play. Keep the relievers off the field as long as possible and the team will be much better.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | May 16, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

>Charlie Manuel decided to give up on his relief corps and turn to a pitcher who was scheduled to start during Saturday's day-night doubleheader.

"Once we got there in the game, and I looked at their team and our team, and compared what players were left, what pitchers," Manuel explained, "I said ... 'We're going for it.'"

So J.A. Happ came on for the 11th to throw two scoreless innings, and Raul Ibanez delivered a two-run single after Kip Wells, Washington's eighth pitcher, walked the bases loaded in the 12th. That broke a tie and sent the Phillies to a 10-6 victory.

"No excuses. No explanations," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "We just basically walked ourselves into death."

Just looking at the responses, there's a huge disparity in cognitive intellect. Just like Knight said after the game - Acta using 4 pitchers to get 3 outs in the sixth inning was at least an inning, if not two early. So now he HAS to stay with Wells, even though he has control problems, because there's nobody else in case of emergency. In the mlb.com article, Ladson reminds us that Acta wants his young pitchers to leave on a good note, hence that's the reason why Acta yanked Lannan early. I mean, do you want your young pitchers to be mediocre 5-inning 100 pitch pitchers, or do you want them to focus on winning the game and stretching them out? How do you know how well a guy has actually thrown until he's hit a wall? It's not like Lannan is a hard thrower, and his velocity fell off the table. He can get people out with offspeed stuff. All he needed was a ground ball in the 6th. It's merely an exercise in so-called positive reinforcement and has nothing to do with actually putting a W on the board. It's patently ridiculous, and not fair to the team the way he handles the pitching staff.

Posted by: Brue | May 16, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Manny Acta mismanaged this into a loss -- Ron Villone, former starter, could have went more than one batter; Garrett Mock, former starter, could have went more than one batter, etc.

One very irritating thing about this organization is how they annoint certain players as 'good' with no performance behind them, and stick with them WAAAAY too long. Lastings Milledge. Joel Hanrahan. and now, Jesus Colome. Colome has done nothing over the past several seasons to justify his roster spot, yet they keep running him out there for years. Last night -- walk, stolen base, hit. And Beimel comes in to clean up his mess and takes the heat for making one mistake.

Duaner Sanchez was DFA'd by the Padres last night. Look for him in a "Natinals" jersey by the time Baltimore comes in next weekend.

What happened w/ Hinckley?

And why is Jason Bergmann exiled permanently to Syracuse?

Posted by: raymitten | May 16, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Lannan should have finished the 6th. But Acta went for the win in the 7th. If J.B. would have gotten Howard out, the Nats probably win the game in 9.

As far as roster management goes, Rizzo is taking a last look at all the Bowden projects on this Team. Colome is next on the list, if he doesn't perform... He's going to be the next one DFA'd.

Posted by: psubman | May 16, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I've said it time and again Acta is not a big league manager he maxed out the bullpen before the ninth inning i'm sitting here in Atl. thinking this guy is a dummy,on another note if i see or hear of another major leaguer "tweaking" his hamstring or quad or calf i'm gonna scream Dukes had to leave the game last night because of a hammy, ridiculous! back in the day nobody ever pulled not even a muscle all this equipment to keep players in shape and everyone is pulling this or that. Manny needs to go the longer we wait the worse its gonna get he's a nice guy but you know the saying nice guy's finish...............

Posted by: dargregmag | May 16, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Manny's problem really is that he's too freaking positive. In baseball, that's a stupid way to be. It's a game based on failure.

Because he always manages with the best-case scenario in mind, he never contemplates the alternative. There's no downside to burning through 4 relievers in an inning and a half because, dammit, "we're going to win!"

Because he seems to think that everything's just going to work out, he's always caught with his pants down in situations that he's not prepared for, such as last night. That loss wasn't Wells' fault. He was gassed. (Although you'd think a crappy pitcher like him would be able to go more than an inning...)

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | May 16, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

"Just looking at the responses, there's a huge disparity in cognitive intellect. Just like Knight said after the game - Acta using 4 pitchers to get 3 outs in the sixth inning was at least an inning, if not two early."

You're right. Manny screwed up there. He should have told Lannan not to lose it and hit two guys in the sixth so he could leave him in for two more innings. Not Lannan's fault for not executing. Manny's fault!

"Ron Villone, former starter, could have went more than one batter; Garrett Mock, former starter, could have went more than one batter"

You're right. Mock could have gone more than one batter, but didn't because he couldn't get his one batter out. Villone could have gone more than one batter too, if he didn't have to come in and get the one out that Mock couldn't. So yeah, it's Manny's fault. He should have known that Mock wouldn't be able to get a batter out and not brought him in. Certainly not Mock's fault for not doing his job.

So yeah, it's all Manny's fault. Fire him and bring some other bozo in to manage these guys into losses.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 16, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 16, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I live in Washington State. I would like to know if the the hometown fans of the Nats are Booing when the relief corp comes to fan the flames? Riders on the Storm theme song would be a welcome sound in the 7-8-9th innings !

Posted by: rcpatrao | May 16, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

rcp, I think that perhaps you are mistaking Nats fans for Phillies fans, who do tend to boo their own players.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 16, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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